3 telecom brand predictions for this year’s holiday shopping season

October 7th, 2022 | John Poelking

Chestnuts are not roasting on an open fire, nor is Jack Frost nipping at our noses, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still thinking about what this forthcoming holiday season is going to look like. As inflation looms large over the holiday window, telecom providers will be looking for new ways to bring value to customers during the holiday season.

Building off of Mintel’s retail predictions for the 2022 holiday season and what we noticed from last year’s Black Friday activity, we see three predictions for how telecom brands will respond to changing holiday expectations to emerge “best in snow” come the New Year.

1. Consumers will shop earlier and focus on value

Mintel research shows that concerns of inflation are already hitting shoppers, as 59% of holiday shoppers want to spend the least amount of money possible this season, up from 51% in 2021. Shoppers will not be waiting until the traditional retail holidays to find the best deals; they’ll be shopping earlier and finding deals wherever they present themselves. A trend of a prolonged holiday shopping window already started to emerge in 2021, where the typical peaks in spending that come around Black Friday were more evenly distributed across the entire 10-week period from November through the New Year.

Source: Mintel Comperemedia; Mintel/Pathmatics; Mintel analysis of Media Radar [11/01/2019-12/31/2021] as of 09/07/2022

Digital Marketing spend includes online video, online display, paid Facebook, paid Instagram, and paid Twitter; Holiday Messaging determined by extensive OCR-search. Brands included in analysis are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Comcast, Charter, Mint, Boost, Cricket, Visible, and Metro by T-Mobile.

Providers will be looking to make their own unique holidays separate from Black Friday and Cyber Monday to keep the excitement of the holiday season alive Since consumers will be looking for deals this season, brands will look to put their own spin on the season to capitalize on it.

2. Brands will turn to paid social media

As Gen Z and Young Millennials gain more spending power, they’ll become increasingly important consumers to reach during the holiday window. Online ads and social media are particularly influential channels in getting these generations to learn more about what’s available for purchase.

Source: Mintel’s Winter Holiday Shopping – US, 2022 Report

To reach these shoppers, telecom brands increased their holiday paid social spend 36% year over year in 2021 compared to 2020. This was heavily driven by the community of Facebook (74% YoY increase from 2020) and the visual cheer of Instagram (184% YoY increase from 2020). We’ll see this investment continue its upward trajectory during 2022.

Paid social ads will attempt to appeal to these generations by understanding shifting traditions and incorporating them into online messaging. People will be looking for a more traditional holiday season this year as the pandemic has inhibited celebrations over the previous two seasons. However, they will also be carrying new traditions that they’ve established during the last two holidays to bring back to their families. Last year, Visible tapped into similar messages of family dysfunction in a way that felt silly but sincere. We expect more brands to take on this type of approach in 2022.

3. Brands will bring the magic of the season to life

In-person shopping took a backseat over the past two seasons as COVID-19 kept shoppers online. Digital deals can still bring the greatest value and convenience to shoppers, but people still miss the novelty of sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall or going to see the decorations. Providers will need to combine value and novelty to create campaigns that reach into both the physical and digital worlds.

T-Mobile partnered with Reese’s for a Halloween 2021 event that guided trick-or-treaters to unique locations for 10x as much Resse’s candy to illustrate how 5G coverage is 10x faster than 4G/LTE. A similarly lighthearted approach to an event that isn’t deal-centric will likely be incorporated into some providers’ experiential campaigns during the 2022 Holiday season.

To find out how Comperemedia can help your brand navigate this holiday shopping season during an inflationary time, click here.

John Poelking

John Poelking

John Poelking is Comperemedia's Research Manager of Technology, Media, and Telecom, providing omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive intelligence for syndicated and custom insights.